Big life changes often follow a moment of clarity that can be startling, liberating or even painful.
For Gina Gross, 59, her epiphany came while she and her husband were taking a tour of a gym in their new community.
Gross was a recently retired nurse and had become obese over the years, weighing 340 pounds at 5 feet 10 inches tall.
“That was a very tough day,” she recalls now, two years after the gym tour. “I felt like a failure. I’m too smart to have done this to myself, and I did it.”
Gina turned that heartache into determination. So far, she’s down about 100 pounds, and she’s determined to get below 200.
She says the demands of her ER job contributed to her weight gain. It then made her final working years even more difficult, particularly on her feet and knees. “Once you get to my size, with pain and arthritis, you don’t feel good working,” she says.
Now she has enrolled in a healthy eating course and stuck with her exercise routine. She even keeps building on it. She walks, takes water aerobics, and spends hours a day at the gym working out with weights. Her husband has joined her, and they’ve started hiking in the nearby hills.
“Now it’s a part of our lives,” she says. “I still have a long way to go, but I feel so good. I feel proud, and I feel like my whole life has changed.”